So it seems anime does this thing where new shows come out each season. And then bloggers write up a bunch of first impressions on shows, because we’re all important people with opinions that are important and stuff and like to type up things and LOVE ANIMU, which people read because IMPORTANT REASONS. Of course, since I’m a blogger, I’ve decided to join the club. Given how many of these there are around (from people who are much better at writing about shows than me), and because there’s no way I can ever top this, I’m just going to quickly comment on the slew of shows I’ve seen so far. These’ll be brief, and are meant to be more of a description of interesting things I’ve seen in shows as well as an indirect channel for talking about my excellent taste.
Akuma no Riddle: Continues the trend of “put a bunch of people in a room, lay down rules, and then have them try and kill each other” type of thing in the style of Battle Royale and co. Past that, there’s nothing really “special” about it I’ve seen thusfar other than the fact that all the assassin’s are girls. It feels similar to Danganronpa because the personalities all happen to be pretty distinctive, but no action has happened yet (as of episode 2). Not going to continue.
Black Bullet: A lot of people are probably saying “this had such a great sci-fi/fantasy setting and then it threw in a bunch of anime cliches WHYYYYYYY”, but I think that’s sort of the charm of shows like this. The weird mix of “end of the world” setting with “high school” and “adoring loli” is the type of thing you can only get in a medium like this. Besides lots of action, it also has an interesting thread involving discrimination with the Cursed Children. Interested.
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou: The color scheme in this is pretty gorgeous (I’m a sucker for bright colors and high contrast). There’s a lot of gag comedy (rapid-fire manzai-esque stuff) going on between Usa and the other residents due to their strange personalities, plus a very intense crush. Still, in the end, I was a little bit bored. Dropping, but might check back if reception is good.
Captain Earth: The first episode has some great directing and use of temporal cuts, which switches back and forth between flashbacks and the present very naturally. The mecha launch sequence was by far the most realistic thing I’ve seen, and the concept of the “Livlaster” is very intriguing. Pretty sci-fi heavy with a lot of unintelligible terminology and a lot of backstory that has to be filled in. The idea of covering both sides of the conflict between Earth and whatever the Kiltgang are simultaneously is pretty cool so far and an interesting storytelling choice. Curious at where this will go.
Date A Live II: Exactly the same as the first season. Meta-commentary on otaku culture/eroge and an exploration of harem-building and the concept of love (honestly!). Otherwise, it’s pretty dumb. Continuing.
Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun: I liked the idea behind this and the role reversal with the virgin male necessary to pilot the mecha. That said, the animation got to me a bit (especially the mouths). I’m tempted to give this one another shot because I feel like it might be some weird meta-commentary on things (plus it has Dai Sato and J.C. Staff behind it), but at the moment it just came across as…odd (and possibly cheap). Dropped…for now?
Haikyuu!!: The animation on this is really good. Not necessarily original story though – very cliched shounen sports plot so far. Character designs are interesting, and the main duo have a good dynamic that looks like it’ll lead to some good learning experiences. Generally though, the speed of these types of shows are too slow for me (a lot of dialogue and shouting, not very much actual “sports”), but I’ll wait and see. Following for now, but might drop later.
Isshuukan Friends.: The color scheme is super bright — gives off the impression of unreality or idyllic experiences in the same vein as Usagi Drop. Dialogue between the characters is pretty good, and I think captures their age/demeanor quite well. I was impressed by how the show manages to convey a lot of complex expressions/emotions (recognition, coldness, fear) using such limited facial features. Especially good use of the eyes. I was skeptical of this becoming over-dramatic, but the development in the first two episodes was actually very controlled and showed really good character growth. Count me charmed.
JoJo: DIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. WRYYYYYYYYYYYY.
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: Feels like a weird cross between NouCome and WHO IS IMOUTO (and similar to ImoCho), as in it’s pretty ridiculous and dumb but not so much to really be impressive (in either a good or bad way). Like every LN adaptation, it has a good basis — it’s similar to Date a Live except with a “wouldn’t life be great with flags to show everything but life isn’t that easy and relationships are difficult and managing them and learning about other people is important” type of thing instead of a focus on love. All the characters have complicated/dark pasts which tie into them wanting to be friends with the Hatate. Tropes and meta-commentary everywhere. Dialogue is really fast. Ended up being uninteresting to me, but might be someone else’s thing. Dropped.
Kenzen Robo Daimidaler: This is by far the most immature show I’ve seen for a while. Lot of “front tails” waving around, giant left arms, ejaculation references, porn mags, and other craziness. The show points out multiple times how dumb it is and definitely has drawn Kouichi to look like a creep (and portrays him to be an all around actual horrible immature guy), so I don’t think we should be taking many of the things it’s doing seriously. Might be weird meta-commentary on the state of most of these types of fanservicey things and attitudes? Opening episode is good, second episode is more ridiculous because it involves more Penguin Empire antics. LET THE FRONT TAILS CONTINUE.
Mahouka: MC is clearly meant to be “perfect“. I love imoutos, so this one got me hook, line, and sinker. Production values are high, plot is very anime-esque (in that it’s futuristic/sci-fi, harem-y, wincest, and set in high school). Interesting stuff on class differences between 1st-class and 2nd-class (“weeds”) students. Definite commentaries on education. Worldbuilding almost nonexistant so far, although magic system has been getting indirectly fleshed out. Actually not that impressive to me, but continuing.
Mekaku City Actors: A lot of Shaft-like stuff going on, which I think works well here. Gives off an oppressive atmosphere, intense focus on MCs, lots of eye imagery (they have eye powers), clocks, space, draws attention to animation and narrative quality, etc. I like it and think it’s fitting, although others might not. Snagged my interest.
No Game No Life: Definitely the flashiest opening of the season with really bright colors. Lots of “skewed narrator” commentary a la Oregairu from the POV of the older brother. Interesting parallels between hikikomori and Tet’s ascendance to power in the mythos of the alternate reality they are transported to. Clever camera work that simulates how the duo “cheats” (from the POV of those being cheated) so far. Imouto = win. Main brother is an ass and looks like a sociopath. Sister also might be a sociopath, given her inability to comprehend “illogical” decisions. Clearly unrealistic. Evidence points to interesting discourses on wish fulfillment type narratives, trope inversions, and interesting games in the future. Given it’s only 11 eps, however, I’m curious about how much of this will make it into the season. VERY EXCITED.
Ping Pong The Animation: Regardless of art style, this has by far the best cinematography work I’ve seen in a long time, and does some really cool things with visuals and aesthetics (use of colors, negative space, symbolic repetition, etc.). The story is decently compelling and the character development has been surprisingly good given only one episode. Chinese voice actors were refreshing to hear. Count me in.
Sidonia no Kishi: If we’re talking about really good worldbuilding, this is it — a lot of fantastic “show don’t tell” going on here. It also shows you don’t need to drop a lot of fancy terminology (a la Captain Earth) to give a compelling world/backstory that viewers don’t understand. Small inserted details (like the photosynthesis remark) were perfect. The art style and CG are fascinating choices which I’ll need to see more of to really get a handle on. This looks like it really warranted the initial description I heard of as the sci-fi equivalent of Attack on Titan. SO EXCITED.
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii: Actually very charming. The humor feels natural, the dialogue flows decently well — there’s some banter, but it’s not as hectic as Kawaisou. Not too much to say at the moment, but I’m at least interested in seeing more. Yay!
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Yugioh has evolved once again, from roller coasters (Zexal) to…arenas? The implementation of “action matter” was a choice that reminds me a lot of the original Yugioh, but the actual opening dual was…weird. The ridiculous deux ex machina of the pendulum summoning at the end made me laugh though. At least I tried, right?
Nisekoi: Still like the best thing.
Tonari no Seki-kun: Still very entertaining. Goes to show that good camerawork, sound, and clever storyboarding can go a long way in a very small setting. The addition of another cast member also has gone quite well, with another unique personality added to the mix. Woohoo!
- A lot of shows now making 4th-wall meta-commentary (even Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii snuck some in) — not sure how I feel about this trend since it’s become so pervasive.
- Art styles still seem to be progressing in the “no noses” direction.
- Is it just me, or are there a lot of lolis this season?
- Just realized that in this season and the past season there’s been over half a dozen sports anime (holy crap!).
- Surprised at the amount of bright color usage in a decent slew of shows: is this a thing, or just selection bias?
Okay – that’s that. What’re other people’s thoughts on the season? :)